Throughout history, businesses and entrepreneurs alike have been searching for what many have referred to as the “formula” to success. For some, that formula was thought to be hard work, determination, and a never-ending journey of chasing one’s own dreams. For others, success was a combination of right time, right place—and a lot of luck.
As we enter mid-2021, hard work and determination—though still highly important—are certainly not the only factors for making a business a resounding success. As for right time, place and luck? It turns out that the world of data might be handing that to everyone on a silver platter.
For everything that everyone does in this new millennium, data is created at every interaction point. In fact, every individual within our collective society creates their own data almost continuously. From surfing the web, to making online purchases, to ordering food through a delivery app, to even parking one’s own car—data is being created at every step.
As such, the previously mentioned formula to success is indeed actually a formula—one meant to calculate data and extrapolate outcomes based on it.
After my long preamble, you may now be wondering: what does this have to do with the success of grocery stores and restaurants? Well, everything actually.
You see, if everything that everyone does is a data point, that means that data can in fact be calculated. This means two very distinct things for grocery stores and restaurants. First, there must absolutely be a mechanism in place to capture customer data—including the start and end point of every transaction. My advice is that, if you don’t yet have a mobile app for your business, get one! Otherwise, you are hemorrhaging money through lost opportunity.
Second, once you have that mechanism in place, start calculating and leveraging data to make every interaction better. This in turn transforms what was once lost opportunity into a world of possibilities for your business.
Of course, with so much data out there, there is a next set of challenges—including determining what data is useful, and what is not. For most marketers, it can be completely overwhelming having to deal with bad or dirty data, missing information within single-user-profiles, and simply not having the right kind of data. But there is a way out of those headaches as well.
For restaurants, beginning with something simple—like ensuring you have complete customer names, email addresses and phone numbers—is the perfect starting point. This enables basic customer identification and can be used as a baseline for communication. Add onto that baseline the next layer through a mobile app, and that customer data can be expanded to include location visits and times, preferred meal and beverage types, offers that have been converted, and more.
By configuring your app to lay the foundation of strict rules and data types, it’s possible for on-site staff, administration, marketing and marketing systems to not only maintain clean and usable data—but to leverage it to create enhanced experiences for customers.
Start with the same customer identification and contact info, and build from there. Configure your app to add data types that are, once again, manageable. This can include individual customers’ favorite stores or restaurants, the items they purchase (good for creating offers based on repetition), food allergies, preferences (whether they are vegetarian vs. omnivore), and so on.
The data then becomes a constant and actionable set. This also means that a tool such as a personalization platform can be implemented—representing the “automation layer” that takes the data and creates, manages and delivers the most relevant offers, content and communications directly to individual customers.
With hard work, determination, right time and place, luck really isn’t even needed. This is the era where data is everywhere. When you are able to properly capture, calculate and use your data to create a better customer experience, the impact for businesses is huge—offsetting the competition, garnering more market share, and leading to a happy (or happier) bottom line. Suddenly, that formula for success becomes a reality.
Chief Customer Officer
Andrew Armstrong is the Chief Customer Officer at omNovos – working globally with customers to design world-class customer engagement programs. He’s a prolific writer and speaker on topics including customer loyalty, personalization, and retail marketing technologies. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Twitter - his open approach to all topics usually leads to a fun discussion and a few laughs.